Author Archive | frank

Spinal Tap Black

The Dark Side

by / / 184 posts

White is a troublesome color; hard to keep clean. I have a white dress shirt that I never wear because even if I manage not to spill on the front of it, the cuffs and collar will look crap by the end of the day regardless. I mean, I can keep from eating something all…

Not for the faint hearted: the Winter Cycling Cap.

Experts Only: The Winter Cycling Cap

by / / 98 posts

We just finished a thorough examination of the Cyclist’s marquee accoutrement, the Cycling Cap. Today’s lesson is about the Cycling Cap’s red-headed step brother, the Winter Cycling Cap. This is a toque born of necessity; the thin cotton cap is nowhere near warm enough for the demands of the Flemish winter training season. Form should follow function,…

Gimmeeawheel!!!! I have a flat!

On the Road Again: Keepers Tour 2015

by / / 66 posts

We want to look like Pros, sure, but what we’re really after is feeling Pro. All the aesthetics are just a tool we use to fuel the fickle internal combustion engine of Morale. In the end, there is little that will make you feel Pro more than clattering along a stretch of cobbles in a small group;…

The last masters of the Cycling cap passed into the night at the close of the 20th cetnury

Les Maîtres de la Casquette

by / / 130 posts

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here. Rule #5, Rule #9, Rule #10; every rider in this frame Looks Fantastic (most other Rules). The riders are in short sleeves and shorts while the public apparently has scavenged materials from rubbish bins and the local grain elevator in a very visually unpleasant…

The best tires money can buy: FMB.

The Hum

by / / 148 posts

One of the things that strikes me most about the English is they don’t appear to have developed any sort of “inner dialog”. It seems anything that passes through the brain is parlayed directly to the tongue; if the thought being expressed is an insult to you, it will generally include a query for confirmation: “You’re not…

Pantani: Undisputable folk hero.

The Hero and the Villain

by / / 90 posts

I’m not saying I’m Batman; if I was Batman it would be a foolish thing to admit to and if I wasn’t Batman it would be a foolish thing to claim to be. What is true, however, is that Batman is pretty cool and it would probably be pretty cool to be a cool dude like Batman. It bears mentioning,…

The road to Chapman Peak south from Cape Town, South Africa.

Places to Ride: Cape Town, South Africa

by / / 29 posts

I’ve never been to Africa before, although I’m not sure Cape Town counts as “Africa”. One thing I noticed is that everyone here is very skinny. I also noticed that the meal proportions served at restaurants are very modest. That shows the difference between prevention and treatment when dealing with obesity; whereas in the United…

Hinault, Le Blaireau

Truth and Fiction

by / / 67 posts

There is nothing more disappointing than discovering the truth behind a myth or spotting the mortal behind a legend. This is why I make a point never to do any research or in any other way attempt to validate my assumptions when evaluating a situation; mystery that feels like a fact and sounds like a fact is better than an actual fact. Truth, like sex,…

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Look Pro: Going Belgian Style

by / / 71 posts

To keep chickens is to walk a path towards introspection. From the songs they sing after laying an egg (which I assume is “chicken” for “I’m Every Woman“) to the sheer glee they show when they find a worm in the mud, chickens provide a perfect example of living life in and for the moment. The…

Vermont in Autumn. Photo via @LazyJackFlash.

(Re)Discovery

by / / 37 posts

I’ve lost a lot of things that were, at some point or another, dear to me. At times, I’ve even cast them away deliberately, either because of a nurtured indifference or an irrational or impulsive dislike. Regret is an easy emotion to find in reflection, it lays right at the surface and provides us with a quick…

ChateauneufduPape

The Road Less Travelled

by / / 85 posts

I love wine. I mean, I like beer and scotch and can’t resist ordering a Vesper whenever I pretend to be a gentleman spy, but I love wine. As a semi-professional drinker, the biggest worry I have is that should my as-yet undiagnosed problem with alcohol become a diagnosed problem with alcohol, I’d have to stop drinking wine. A full…

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The Hard Way

by / / 170 posts

Doing things the hard way is a luxury. It says to the world that we’ve beat evolution; intelligence is no match for technology and economy is no match for indulgence. We need only step a bit outside our bubble to realize the scale of the illusion, but nevertheless it has become reality for many of us who live our…

After the leaves have fallen. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

Velominati Super Prestige: Giro di Lombardia 2014

by / / 124 posts

I’m getting too old and cranky for all this race schedule changing. I know they already did this last year and presumably I had the same gripings then, but Lombardia is supposed to close out the season and I’m downright angry that Paris-Tours is closing out the books now; it only seems right that one of the…

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The Goalden Fleece

by / / 61 posts

Happy living in our stressful lives is all about organization. For instance, I like to sort the tasks first by priority and then group tasks of equal priority into buckets of minor priorities. Software developers creatively call this approach to organization a “bucket sort”. This helps break down what appears to be an insurmountable mess of work…

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Velominati Super Prestige: The Men’s Elite Road Race

by / / 180 posts

You can only spend so much time with the Schlecks before you start talking like them, and the fabulous Fabs seems to have crossed the threshold. I’ve heard more complaining from him this season than I have talk about pushing harder on the pedals or going steady up with more speed or going full gas like everyone…

onruleten

The Nature of Rule VV

by / / 49 posts

It never gets easier, you just go faster. – Greg LeMond Rule #5 looms above the other Rules in terms of sheer relevance to Cycling; it is the fundamental building block upon which this sport is built. The Five is what drives us, it is the force that springs from a well that flows deep within each of…

Bikes and cars don't always get along this well.

The Lowest Common Denominator

by / / 122 posts

Stupidity is a powerful force never to be underestimated. Geese are a good example; a more stupid vertebrate one would be most challenged to come across yet should you wander into a flock of them pecking about peacefully in a field, one is likely to erupt from its grazing to grab a billful of your ass and commence beating you savagely…

Puget Sound just after sunrise.

Summer Ripening

by / / 39 posts

Summer is a time for getting fat. Winter is a time for getting fat as well, but in a different way; in Winter we get fat on meals of meat and potatoes covered in sauces made of meat and potatoes. In Summer, on the other hand, our minds get fat: we get nice tans, we tone our…

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Tubular Survival Kit

by / / 102 posts

There was never any question in my mind that tubulars are more romantic than clinchers, and as a Velominatus I was always convinced that the additional time and care that goes into gluing on a set of tires would make you feel just that much more connected to your bike and the history of the…

The Prophet goes by the numbers.

Three Points in Space

by / / 62 posts

Most great ideas in life are accompanied by an unforeseen consequence of equal or greater magnitude. For instance, no one predicted that the Industrial Revolution would pollute our air and set off climate change on a global scale. Similarly, no one realized that when placing unfathomable computing power in the palm of our hands in…